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Car insurance for high-risk drivers in California

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Drivers with multiple at-fault accidents, tickets or a DUI may have a harder time finding low rates for car insurance. In addition, reckless or high-risk driving in California could lead to your license being suspended, restricted or revoked. California high-risk auto insurance is an alternative coverage when your traditional vehicle insurance is no longer available or affordable.

High-risk car insurance California rates

The cost of your California vehicle insurance depends on your driving record, vehicle and level of coverage, among other things. California high-risk auto insurance is often cheaper than traditional coverage. Each carrier has its own threshold of risk when pricing your vehicle insurance. One insurance company may provide affordable insurance for a driver with speeding tickets but raise premiums sharply after an accident or claim.

Rates after a speeding ticket

Speeding tickets could increase your car insurance rates slightly or significantly, depending on the insurer. There is no formula to determine which insurance company will be cheaper after a speeding ticket. However, Bankrate’s analysis found Geico and Progressive to be the most affordable carriers on average.

Car insurance company California average annual premium for full coverage before a speeding ticket California average annual premium for full coverage after a speeding ticket % difference
Farmers $2,164 $2,650 22.49
Geico $1,615 $1,681 4.09
Progressive $1,808 $1,946 7.63

You may be able to avoid an increase in your insurance rates after a speeding ticket by completing an approved traffic school course. The eight-hour course can be completed online from the comfort of your home or in-person.

Rates after an accident

In California, being held responsible for a car accident will raise your premiums more than a speeding ticket. However, high-risk auto insurance California rates vary dramatically from one insurance company to another.

Car insurance company California average annual premium for full coverage before an accident California average annual premium for full coverage after an accident % difference
Allstate $2,119 $2,570 21.28
Metlife $1,845 $3,533 91.49
State Farm $1,943 $1,834 -5.61

Metlife car insurance may start out as the cheapest coverage for safe drivers, but a single accident could nearly double your premiums. Oddly enough, State Farm’s rates drop after an accident. The carrier may offer higher-risk drivers discounts when they switch their policy to State Farm.

Rates after a DUI

Driving under the influence may be the most dangerous risk a driver could take both financially and safety-wise. In the latest report from the California DMV, 33% of all traffic fatalities were due to drinking and driving and 21% due to drugs.

Car insurance company California average annual premium for full coverage before a DUI California average annual premium for full coverage after a DUI % difference
Allstate $2,119 $4,287 102.31
Geico $1,615 $3,227 99.81
Nationwide $2,155 $3,368 56.29

Drivers convicted of a DUI in California will also need to ask their insurance company to file a certificate of financial responsibility (SR-22) with the DMV to legally drive.

Rate for teen drivers

California teen drivers were less likely to be involved in a crash than drivers age 20 to 24. Nevertheless, car insurance premiums for parents who add their teen kids to their policies are higher than average.

Car insurance company Average annual premium for full coverage
Allstate $2,793
Geico $2,828
State Farm $1,515

*16-year-old on their parent’s policy

Getting quotes from several carriers is the best way to find the cheapest car insurance. As you can see above, State Farm’s premiums for teen drivers are almost half of Allstate’s and Geico’s.

Who is a high-risk driver?

High-risk drivers come in all ages and experience levels. Insurance companies consider drivers with a DUI conviction or with more than one accident or moving violation to be high-risk.

California’s points system for violations is one of the stricter in the country. Many states may suspend or revoke your license after accumulating six points. California could suspend your license after getting four points in one year. Considering that one at-fault crash may cost you three points for driver negligence, your license could be suspended after a second accident or ticket.

How to lower your rate if you’re a high-risk driver

High-risk drivers have limited carrier options and higher premiums. One way to offset the limited choices is by finding ways to reduce the cost of coverage:

  • Shop around to find the cheapest coverage based on your current needs.
  • Take advantage of as many discounts as possible, such as accident forgiveness, low mileage, student driver or multi-line discounts.
  • Complete an approved, eight-hour traffic school course to keep points off your driving record.
  • Increase your deductible to the highest amount you can afford.

Saving as little as five to ten percent on your vehicle insurance could translate to hundreds of dollars over time.

Frequently asked questions

What is an SR-22?

An SR-22 is a form filed by your insurance company with the DMV on your behalf. It’s a certificate of financial responsibility that confirms you have the minimum amount of car insurance required to drive.

Do I need extra car insurance if I’m a high-risk driver?

All California drivers are required to have liability insurance with minimums of $15,000 in bodily injury and death per person, $30,000 total per accident and $5,000 in property damage.

How many points do I get in California if I cause an accident?

California assigns zero to three points if you’re a negligent operator (responsible for a car crash). The DMV may suspend or revoke your accident after you have four points on your record.


Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually. These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

High-risk drivers
Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.

Written by
Cynthia Paez Bowman
Personal Finance Contributor
Cynthia Paez Bowman is a former personal finance contributor at Bankrate. She is a finance and business journalist who has been featured in Business Jet Traveler, MSN,, and